Emmys 2018: Diverse Nominees, But Few Wins For African-Americans

Tandy Newton
Thandie Newton

By LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” became the first streaming series to win top Emmy comedy honors and HBO’s “Game of Thrones” recaptured the best drama series award Monday at a ceremony that largely slighted its most ethnically diverse field of nominees ever.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amazon’s freshman sitcom about an unhappy 1950s homemaker liberated by stand-up comedy, earned best actress honors for star Rachel Brosnahan.

Her castmate Alex Borstein earned the supporting actress trophy and the series creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, nabbed writing and directing awards.

Claire Foy of “The Crown” and Matthew Rhys of “The Americans” won top drama acting Emmys, their first trophies for the roles and last chance to claim them, with Foy’s role as Queen Elizabeth II going to another actress and Rhys’ show wrapped.

A shocked @ReginaKing takes the stage to say thank you for best lead actress in a limited series or TV movie Emmy win: “I wasn’t really expecting this.” #Emmys http://thr.cm/ccBRSM

Tiffany Haddish & Angela Bassett buddy cop movie anyone? #Emmys pic.twitter.com/fEi9sDIwYf

The field bested by Foy included last year’s winner Elisabeth Moss for “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Sandra Oh of “Killing Eve,” who would have been the first actor of Asian descent to get a top drama award.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen,” said a startled Foy.

“Game of Thrones,” which sat out last year’s Emmys because of scheduling, won despite competition from defending champ “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

“Thank you for letting us take care of your people,” ”Game of Thrones” producer D.B. Weiss said to George R.R. Martin, whose novels fuel the drama.

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most ethnically diverse field of nominees ever, the early awards all went to whites.

“Let’s get it trending: #EmmysSoWhite,” presenter James Corden joked at the midway point, riffing off an earlier tribute to Betty White.

“I want to say six awards, all white winners, and nobody has thanked Jesus yet,” co-host Michael Che said, referring back to his earlier joke that only African-American and Republican winners do.

Then Regina King broke the string, with a best actress trophy in a limited series or movie for “Seven Seconds,” which tracks the fallout from a white police officer’s traffic accident involving a black teenager.

She was followed by Darren Criss, who won the lead acting award for the miniseries “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” and who is of Filipino descent.

Thandie Newton won best supporting drama actress for “Westworld,” and Peter Dinklage added a third trophy to his collection for “Game of Thrones.”

Brosnahan used her acceptance speech to give a shout-out to her comedy’s celebration of women power.

“It’s about a woman who’s finding her voice anew, and it’s one of the things that’s happening all over the country now,” she said. She urged the audience to exercise that power by voting.

The Emmys kicked off with a song, “We Solved It,” a celebration to the diversity of nominees sung by stars including Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson. The tune included a mention that Oh could become the first woman of Asian descent to win an Emmy. “There were none, now there’s one, so we’re done,” the comedians sang.

Oh played along from her seat: “Thank you, but it’s an honor just to be Asian,” said the Korean-Canadian actress.

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AP Writers Mike Cidoni Lennox in Los Angeles and Leanne Italie in New York contributed to this report.

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